Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki
Character Isaac appearance.png
Full red heartFull red heartFull red heart
Table dividing line 1.png
Challenge Number
Available Rooms
Item Pool Treasure Room.png: yes          Item Pool Shop.png: yes
Boss Mom's Heart portrait.png
Unlock Method

SPEED! Defeat Mom

Added in Afterbirth

SPEED! is Challenge #22. In this challenge, all enemies are sped up as if under the "speed up" effect of the Broken Watch Broken Watch. Isaac also has greatly increased movement speed. The goal is to defeat Mom's Heart Mom's Heart or It Lives It Lives with a "soft" time limit of 16 minutes.


This is arguably one of the hardest challenges in the game, for two major reasons. Firstly, the increased speed for both the enemies and Isaac can make most routine rooms and bosses challenging. More importantly, the 16-minute soft time limit is also very hard to beat and may force the player to forgo exploring for rewards that might have helped them later on. Note that the time limit is not a "hard" one and that the game is not over when the countdown timer reaches 0; however, from that point onwards Isaac will start taking half a heart of damage every 10 seconds, or a full heart of damage starting from chapter 4.



  • Health is always important, but even more so in this challenge. Not only will health compensate for the damage taken, be it from the more difficult rooms/bosses or the timed damage, but it can also be used for Devil Deals to access its high DPS item pool. Items that generates health or protection thus help greatly, These include The Wafer The Wafer, Cancer Cancer, Yum Heart Yum Heart, Unicorn Stump Unicorn Stump, Prayer Card Prayer Card, and many many more.
  • Blank Card Blank Card is a powerful item in this run, as there are cards and runes such as IV - The Emperor IV - The Emperor, XIX - The Sun XIX - The Sun, Rune of Ansuz Rune of Ansuz, and Rune of Ehwaz Rune of Ehwaz, all of which can enable faster progression through the game. Certain cards and runes, such as V - The Hierophant V - The Hierophant, VI - The Lovers VI - The Lovers, VII - The Chariot VII - The Chariot, XIX - The Sun XIX - The Sun, Rune of Algiz Rune of Algiz, and Rune of Dagaz Rune of Dagaz, can also act as health regeneration or protection to counteract the timed damage or the increased difficulty in general.
  • Getting the Stop Watch Stop Watch will make this challenge easier, since it will slow all enemies in the room when Isaac takes damage, counteracting their increased speed.
    • Added in Repentance Stop Watch no longer requires the player to take damage in order to activate the slowing effect.
  • The Ludovico Technique The Ludovico Technique shouldn't be picked up without high shot speed, as it will move slower than most enemies.
  • Since Isaac starts with increased speed, Taurus Taurus can be used to start every room with the My Little Unicorn My Little Unicorn effect making it effective for clearing rooms quickly. The invincibility from it can also block timed damage occasionally.
  • The Bible The Bible can be used to instantly kill Mom Mom and Mom's Heart Mom's Heart/ It Lives It Lives, making it a more valuable item in this run. In the same vein, Added in Afterbirth †Plan C Plan C is also useful, though only against the final boss.
  • Removed in Repentance Added in Afterbirth †Clicker Clicker can be used to change Isaac into a more powerful character such as Azazel Azazel or The Forgotten The Forgotten, allowing the player to clear rooms more quickly.

Speed run[]

The adverse effect of not finishing the run in within 16 minutes (periodic damage every 10 seconds) can be avoided simply by beating the timer.

  • If the player wishes to beat the timer, it might be a good idea to cut down exploring to a minimum. Find and visit the Treasure Room, occasionally the shop, and the boss, then move on as soon as possible. The Compass The Compass, the Crystal Ball Crystal Ball and The Mind The Mind are very useful if this is the desired strategy, as is IV - The Emperor IV - The Emperor card. Floor skipping with We Need to Go Deeper! We Need to Go Deeper! and such are also valuable time-savers, as long as the player is confident with their current set of items.
  • Isaac's highly increased speed is a powerful asset to rapidly completing this run but can be dangerous as the player may accidentally run over spikes or into enemies/bullets that they otherwise would not run into. It is important to be careful and adjust to the speed-up.
  • Anything that could help to clear rooms faster is going to alleviate some of the difficulty of this challenge. Damage and Tear boosting items are thus a potential priority, making Devil Deals desirable because of their DPS heavy item pool. "Room clearer" items such as Toxic Shock Toxic Shock and "Boss killer" items such as Head of Krampus Head of Krampus are also very useful for speeding up progress.
  • Added in RepentanceJacob's Ladder Jacob's Ladder, after its rework, is now extremely effective in clearing out groups of enemies even if they're not hit directly. Not only does this make the item great at clearing rooms, it also compensates for the heightened difficulty in landing shots due to the general speed increase.
  • Avoid Challenge Up (i.e. Purple Heart Purple Heart, Champion Belt Champion Belt) since Champion enemies are not only much harder to kill, they will also take much longer to kill, and the player is already short on time.
  • Boss Rush Boss Rush is likely to appear on this challenge if the player is trying to beat the timer, but it should be avoided unless there is a way to teleport out of it or skip it.
  • Using {{E|bomb}]s for damage or skipping rooms might be necessary if one wishes to beat the timer. Automatically-replenishing explosives (Ipecac Ipecac, Dr. Fetus Dr. Fetus, etc.) will greatly aid the player in being to do this. However, Dr. Fetus and Epic Fetus Epic Fetus may also make it more difficult to kill enemies, their timed nature making it harder to land the attack.
  • Black Candle Black Candle is a valuable item to purchase from the shop, as it prevents Isaac from being afflicted by Curse of the Lost.png Curse of the Lost and Curse of the Maze.png Curse of the Maze, both of which can waste precious time. The Rune of Dagaz Rune of Dagaz will also remove curses for a single floor if used.
  • Teleport! Teleport!, if used wisely, can save a lot of exploration time by teleporting whenever Isaac doesn't appear to be near rooms of interest. This will inevitably cut down the number of rooms that the player needs to explore.
  • Mom's Knife Mom's Knife, combined with Unicorn Stump Unicorn Stump, can make the challenge laughable; the invincibility every room combined with the huge amount of damage the knife gives you on contact can sweep even 2x2 rooms in seconds without worrying about damage (so long as you don't run out).
  • Added in RepentanceMercurius Mercurius opens most doors, thus avoiding the need to clear rooms. This massively reduces the time spent on each floor and allows quick exploration for Special Rooms, making the challenge far easier.

Slow and Steady[]

After 16 minutes, the periodic damage taken every 10 seconds can be counteracted by generating enough health or obtaining enough protection against said damage.

  • The timed damage can be absorbed by the Holy Mantle Holy Mantle, making it an even more valuable asset since Isaac can leave the just-cleared room the way he came, re-enter it, wait until the timed damage is dealt, and proceed. By doing so, Isaac can get a 20-second buffer (10s if hit) to rinse and repeat the process without taking any damage.
  • Pyromaniac Pyromaniac and explosives (Curse of the Tower Curse of the Tower or any other way to get a lot of bombs) allows Isaac to survive long after the 16-minute limit, and in the case of Pyromaniac with automatically-replenishing explosives such as Number Two Number Two, very likely the entirety of the run.
  • Guppy's Paw Guppy's Paw in the late game can potentially give the player up to 6 minutes of borrowed time, 12 minutes with The Wafer, and even more if the player happens to find HP upgrades in the final moments of the run.
  • Isaac's Heart Isaac's Heart makes Isaac completely immune to the timed damage. However, because of the increased speed of your player and enemies, beware that dodging may be more difficult.
    • Added in Repentance Isaac's Heart no longer provides immunity to the timed damage.
  • Several Sharp Plug Sharp Plug + The Wafer The Wafer/Cancer Cancer combos will also allow effectively infinite health.
  • Items that grant health or protection on hit such as Old Bandage Old Bandage, Gimpy Gimpy, Virgo Virgo, and Celtic Cross Celtic Cross are useful for surviving past the timer in general.
    • Added in Afterbirth † The items above are also more effective when in possession alongside Dull Razor Dull Razor.


  • Before a patch, Isaac moved at normal speed while all enemies moved faster. It was changed to give Isaac increased speed, as the challenge was deemed to be unfairly difficult before.



  • If Isaac dies to the timed damage, his will depicts a stopwatch where normally a sketch of the enemy that killed Isaac would be.


Bug Bug! Added in Repentance During the mom fight she does significantly fewer attacks making the fight especially difficult as the only way to hurt mom is to trigger the hand attack.
Bug Bug! Added in Repentance If you successfully complete the challenge after the soft limit, you can still fail by taking ANY timer damage while the trophy-gathering animation is taking place. Taking timer damage during the trophy-gathering animation will cause your inputs to freeze and the trophy to disappear without actually finishing the challenge. You must either die or exit & re-enter the game if this happens.